10 Professions You’ll Wish Still Existed

By Ingrid Longauerová, Epoch Times
February 3, 2016 3:09 pm Last Updated: February 10, 2016 7:04 pm

The Industrial Revolution dramatically reshaped our society, replacing many professions with machines in a short period of time—or at least as many functions as could be automated by the end of 19th century. But what would happen if the revolution had never come? What lost professions would still be in use nowadays?

1. Cafe Vendor

At the top of the list is the profession every coffee drinker would love to bring back to life today: cafe vendor. You would see them walking up and down the street, pouring coffee for anybody in need of a caffeine fix. They also provided delivery service. Imagine having your coffee delivered to your doorstep or maybe right to your bed.

(NYPL)
(NYPL)

In some countries, like Turkey or Italy, instead of coffee, vendors would carry wine, sorbet, or hot chocolate.

(NYPL)
(NYPL)

2. Knocker-Up 

Also known as a human alarm clock, the knock-er up is the ultimate alarm clock that can’t be snoozed. People clearly miss that human touch—there’s actually an an app for it.

(Recuerdos de Pandora/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
(Recuerdos de Pandora/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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3. The Scribe

Illiteracy, a common phenomenon of the 19th century, gave birth to another profession we no longer see today. Scribes would park themselves in front of a convenient place, such as a post office, and write a letter for those in need. I wish they could write my emails for me.

The street scribe, around 1865. (Public Domain)
The street scribe, around 1865. (Public Domain)

4. Rat Catcher

Without doubt, all New Yorkers would hire a rat catcher at any cost. Incidentally, there is a group who use terriers to catch rats, though I’m not sure if they do hire outs…

(Michael von Graffenried, Commons Wikimedia)
(Michael von Graffenried, Commons Wikimedia)

5. Reader Who Entertained Factory Workers

Yes, this is a profession we might still appreciate during those long hours working in front of a computer.

Lector reading at Cuesta Rey cigar company company. (Burgert Brothers. Burgert's Studio - Tampa, Florida)
Lector reading at Cuesta Rey cigar company. (Burgert Brothers. Burgert’s Studio – Tampa, Florida)

6. Town Crier

Public announcements or even the King’s words, were all delivered to the masses by a town crier. Social media and media in general carry on the town criers’ mission, but wouldn’t it be exciting to hear the drums of a coming message?

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(1920, NYPL)

7. Lamplighter

Lamplighters in big cities around the world would move through the streets every night starting at sunset, and while lighting the way, they also kept a protective watch over their domain. 

Buenos Aires, 1931. (Public Domain)
Buenos Aires, 1931. (Public Domain)

8. Elevator Boy

To operate an elevator used to require certain technical skills, that not everybody could handle. That may not be the case anymore, but there could be a number of benefits if the profession carried on: It’s a good entry-level job for teens; there’s always someone to chat with; and you wouldn’t have to touch grimy elevator buttons.

The elevator boy in New York City, 1907. (NYPL)
The elevator boy in New York City, 1907. (NYPL)

9. Switchboard Operator

Imagine having your every phone call transferred by one of these lovely ladies? As easy as it may seem, switchboard operating was a serious profession with specialized schools. Girls had to learn the meaning of many different light signals and also conversional phrases to keep customers company while waiting for the call. Wouldn’t that be nicer than music?

Switchboard operators in Washington, 1908. (Public Domain)
Switchboard operators in Washington, 1908. (Public Domain)

10. Radio Actors

Radio actors actually playing out dramas or comedies seems a bit old-school now, but the profession may live on. Ever listen to your podcast or Soundcloud feed? Though on an updated format, the radio actor might be a profession that has actually never disappeared.

(NYPL)
Robert Taylor (R) and unidentified actor rehears for an episode of NBC’s radio program Good News of 1938. (NYPL)